Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Three down

One to go! It was originally due Friday, but I got an extension until Monday. I hated to ask for it, but I think it was necessary -- I'm running on empty and couldn't have turned in anything I'd be proud of by Friday. This is one of the two papers that I'm really excited about, and I very much want to do a good job. It just took me forever to find my angle on this one. But I've got it now, and I think it's not too bad. Assuming I can get it all down on the screen.

I just have to keep telling myself the end is in sight.

Thanks for your supportive comments. They're really appreciated right now.

I'll be back on Monday. :) See you on the other side!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Still alive

One paper handed in, one almost done, and two more to go. I don't know if I'll get much posting done until after everything's in on Friday. Now back to writing what are probably my last term papers EVER!!!

p.s. the socks are growing slowly during the periodic "sanity breaks" I'm taking while writing. The ends are in sight!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More Week 4, and ... Socks!

First of all...
Look at that!


See? Socks. Two socklike objects!! Okay, so one has only the whisper of a cuff, and there's still plenty of yarn left, and I really can't give my mom socks of two different lengths. Fine. Be picky. But the fact remains that there are now two socks that could in theory go on one's feet. And the end is in sight. In fact, I'm going to say it out loud (and probably curse myself into not meeting this deadline, but hey, it's late and I'm feeling bold so here goes): I will mail the finished socks to my mom for Mother's Day!!

And now on to Wardrobe Therapy.
Week four was about shoes, socks, and purses. The shoes were done, the socks above are all you're going to get on that for now (with the exception of my hand knit socks and my punk socks, my sock collection is functional and boring, and that's okay), and here come the purses.

I've grouped them by type.


The large cary-alls. This doesn't count the plethora of canvas bags I use to tote around school stuff that doesn't fit into these, but those are boring, and also too full of notebooks and file folders at the moment. The one in heavy rotation right now is a canvas tote from the Strand. It seems fitting to carry books around in it. I have really come to appreciate big bags now that I'm in the city and carless. All the junk that might once have rattled around my car is now in these bags.
The green messenger bag in back I have had since high school. The zippers are broken, but the clasps are still functional, and I keep using it because I've never found anything else that worked quite as well. I'll happily replace it when I find something else that can do the job for schlepping things to and from school and libraries.
I love the black wool bag in back. It was very good in fall/winter when I was working and wanted something more professional looking than the messenger bag. Still in good shape, although I need to mend a tear in the lining before it gets bigger. This one's worth repairing, unlike...
The black bag in front. This was a Christmas gift from my parents. I was really excited about it because I thought it might be a good alternative to the green messenger bag. It was, until the handles started to crack right where they're sewn to the bag. I'm afraid they'll break while I'm out, so I don't use this one anymore. I hate to toss something that's so new, but this is really non-functional, and I can't think of a repair that won't be more trouble than its worth. Sadly, gone.
The gray bag in the bottom left is my computer bag. It would be perfect, except it needs a bit of shoulder strap padding, because when its full it can be heavy. Still, I don't tote my laptop around unless I'm in the middle of a paper or on a research trip, which doesn't happen too often (except for right now). But there's lots of writing in my future, so I should try to find an alternative. There's plenty of time to find something though, and this works pretty well, so it isn't a priority just yet.
Also, please note the cat. She would not get off the bed while I took these photos. There are cats and paws in the background of half these shots.

"Everyday" bags


Clockwise, starting at the top left:
A vintage straw purse "borrowed" from my mom. A bit flimsy for serious use, but fun in the summer.
My favorite purse. Pink tweed and brown leather. A little small for all the necessities I seem to need these days, but good for dressier occasions.
Teal suede purse. This is the one I have been using, though I guess its time to change it out for spring. Roomy with straps that go over my shoulders in a fun color that isn't black but still goes with a lot. A definite keeper.
White "macrame" purse. Good for summer. It's getting a little dingy, so I'll see what a wash will do to it. If the results aren't pretty, its no big deal.
Teal felted purse. I really like this one. It's tiny, but is good to stick inside a bigger tote so all the essentials are in one place.
Striped wristlet. I thought this would be useful for when I go out, but then I realized this isn't really a "going out" style. Also? My going out clothes tend to have no pockets and this won't fit a cell phone, so it isn't really very useful. I should toss it, but its little and doesn't take up much room.
Needlepoint bag. This was my grandma's. I don't think she made it, though. I think I'm going to repurpose it as a knitting bag. It's roomy enough. I just can't see myself carrying it anywhere. But it would make good project storage.
Denim bag. For a $10 clearance purchase, it's done a good job. But it's a bit dated, and the straps aren't comfortably long enough to go over my shoulder. I loved the big pockets in the front. They were perfect for keys and my phone. I need to remember to look for that in future purchases, because this one's hitting the road.

Evening purses:

I made the bronze bag in the back to go with the bronze flowered evening sandals from the shoe post. This is a great little pattern and is perfect for whipping up in an afternoon or so. I know it's a little matchy-matchy with the shoes, but I kind of like it. Besides, when you're wearing a blue, pink, and purple sari with metallic embroidery, subtle accessories help.
The black mesh bag next to it is a genuine vintage Whiting and Davis, I'm guessing from the 1950s-60s. Bought at Buffalo Exchange in Austin in the summer of 1999. I wouldn't have thought I remembered that. It goes with a lot, it's surprisingly roomy, and it's a little piece of decorative arts history.
Silver vintage purse. Another one "borrowed" from my mom. I'll have to ask her where she got it/wore it. Really useful for super fancy occasions, and in great shape.
Black burnout velvet clutch. I'm pretty sure that I bought this to take to the homecoming dance my sophomore year of high school. My date (my first boyfriend --neither of us could drive so my parents drove us) was a total doll who sadly moved away not much later. It's not exactly my style anymore, but this is a hard one to get rid of. I think I need to hold on to it just a bit longer.

I just realized I didn't take into account my big knitting bag, or the two knitted purses in progress, or my old backpack. And I know I didn't weed much out, but I did get rid of a bunch of old purses before I moved to New York. Oh well.
Looking at these, I realize I need a new "big bag" solution for when I need to carry a ton of stuff around. I'd also like a new spring bag. Ideally it could fit inside the big bag so I could just pull it out and have all my essentials when I don't want to carry the big one around. I hate having to do the purse swap all the time. Something crucial always gets left behind. Like kleenex, mints, etc. The multiple purse swaps are also why there are a million tubes of lip balm rolling around the place. I found 4 while cleaning out all the bags.

Now, for the final section of week 4: The questions (my answers in italics)

  • What's my Status Symbol? That is, what do you expect people to value and respect about you as a human being? I would like to be recognized and appreciated for my intelligence, my consideration for others, and my sense of humor. That sounds very cheesy, doesn't it?

  • How does my wardrobe relate to my status symbol? Does the way you dress help people recognize your status symbol? Undermine it? Play into one part of a stereotype but not another? Attire always says something, though it may say it quietly or it may hop on a table and sing the score of A Chorus Line. When I had a job, I tried to dress professionally and appropriately, while still retaining a bit of my individuality. In an art museum, there was lots to choose from, style-wise, and I think I did okay. Now, I'm not exactly certain how I should be dressing. The graduate student/art-field/New York overlaps are confusing me. In theory, lots of black should work, but that's just not me. I just want to look appropriate. Like I belong. And then I want to stand out from the crowd, but in a small, good way.

  • Do I want some aspect of my attire to be a conversation starter? If so, what? No and nothing are valid answers here -- it's in wonderfully good taste for every aspect of your outfit to contribute to a vague general impression that you look healthy, happy, and appropriate. My purses are my life or let's talk socks! are also valid answers, as is I've worn the same necklace every day since I was 16, and that's what I'm about. I don't mind if people notice something I'm wearing, as long as it's in a good way. Between shoes, purses, and jewelry, I've got some really cool stuff, and I like it when people notice. But my love for pink sparkly shoes notwithstanding, I'm generally happier being a conversation starter in more subtle ways.

Okay, so now that we're into week 5, I've finally finished off week 4. Some of my donation items have already left the building, but there's still a stack waiting for my next trip to Goodwill (having to schlepp it on the subway means small loads). Purses have been cleaned out, and the detritus sorted and tossed where appropriate (adios, lint covered lipgloss and smooshed gum). Now it's on to week 5 -- underwear and overwear. I probably won't get around to much before next weekend, since I have a paper due this week. But the next time I do my laundry there will be some serious sock evaluations. And somewhere in there, I'm going to finish those darn socks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


So it's week 2 of week 4 of Wardrobe Therapy. This week's tasks are here. Purses and socks will come in a day or so, but since I didn't feel like working on my Consumer Culture essay this evening, I decided to go ahead and sort and photograph my shoes.

I'm going to level with you. Lots of women in all shapes and sizes love shoes, that's a no-brainer. But shoes are really important for the fat fashionistas out there. I'm including myself in that group. As a fat woman who is interested in fashion, I spend a lot of time being frustrated at the lack of options available in my sizes. Those cute clothes in magazines? Not an option for me. But shoes? Purses? Jewelry? Those come in my size. Accessories are the one arena where I can have the same kind of fashion that skinny women can. They're the place where I can fit in with the rest of the fashionable world. I own lots of shoes, and I think one of the reasons is that when I need a shopping fix I can always find a pair of shoes I like. Finding clothing I like can be a lot harder.

So shoes. Here are all the shoes currently in my apartment. Not counting my fuzzy slippers, it's 34 pairs.
There's also a cat in the corner. She was intrigued by all the shoe-related commotion.

To make things easier, I'm separating by shoe type.
The sneakers

  • Running/walking shoes -- in good condition, useful, they're keepers.
  • Green suede sneakers -- I love them, but they're dirty and worn and the insides are shot. They were on sale when I bought them, and they've gotten a good run, so I don't feel bad about tossing them. They're out! I'm going to add another pair to my shopping list.
  • Tan/pink/blue suede sneakers -- they're a bit dirty (that's what six months on NYC streets will do to a pair of shoes), but in good shape. I'm going to try cleaning them.


Casual summer shoes

(back row)

  • Beaded flipflops with a sturdy sole. Stalwart staples.
  • Keds flats. Bought at the end of last summer. I'm looking forward to wearing these.
  • Flats with rhinestone skulls on the straps that you can't really see in this photo. I am happily wearing these into the ground.

(front row)

  • 2 pairs of black slides that I bought in emergency shopping trips. They're both uncomfortable and both going.
  • Cheap-o flipflops. They're handy, though I don't really wear them out here in the city. Staying.


"Everyday" flat shoes

(back row)

  • Short boots. They're ok, and will stay until I find something better. But I'll worry about that next fall.
  • Slingback flats. I really like these and need to wear them more than I do. Surprisingly versatile.
  • Leopard print flats. This is probably their last season. I should try to replace with something a bit more sturdy -- these are really insubstantial.

(front row)

  • Black mary janes. These are worn out, and I'd love to toss them, but then I wouldn't have a pair of black flats. They'll go once replacements are found.
  • My trusty loafers. I wear them all the time. They're holding up well, considering.
  • My fancy loafers. I spent a good amount of money on these and wore them through. I'm going to see if the holes in the soles can be patched. Then I can wear them again. If they're unsalvageable, well, I guess I'll just have to buy something new!


Dressy/"business" shoes. I have a good number of these because I used to wear them when I had a real job. Now that I'm a student, they stay mostly in the closet. I don't want to get rid of them, because I'll need them again once I'm back on the job market. But maybe I'll get to wear some of them at my internship this summer.

(back row)

  • Black loafers with white top stitching. Stalwart staples. A little boring, but very useful.
  • Black mary jane type shoes with pink piping. What looks like pink butterflies are actually cutouts on the toe area. I love these shoes, and since I wear lots of pink, they actually do get worn pretty often. Both of these are Aerosoles. So they're pretty comfy.


  • Tan woven fabric pumps with woodgrain heels. Boring. I bought them for my high school graduation. I still have them, because they're pretty classic, but I don't wear them, because my shoes are one of the few areas where I try to be less boring. I'm giving them another chance before I toss.
  • Beige slingbacks with black trim. Very classic, in a slightly sexy way, so they don't bore me the way the woven shoes do. A little uncomfortable, but I'm not ready to let go.
  • More Aerosoles. Brown mary janes with wingtip detailing and slight wedge heels. I just bought them this fall and love them. Good with jeans or dressier outfits. Just a little funky, in a good way.


  • Tan suede loafers with little suede rosettes on the front. They have little curved-in heels (I don't know what to call them). Very comfortable, very cute. They're staying.
  • Brown leather slingbacks. Useful. Could use a little padding. I saw these insoles just for heels the other day -- I might have to try some here.
  • Maroon metallic leather mary janes with the curvy heels. I love these shoes. They're one of my favorite pairs of shoes. Despite the odd color, I find them pretty wearable with black, grey, and even the right shade of brown trousers, and also with jeans.


Finally, the fancy shoes. My favorite category, though of course the least worn.

(top row)

  • horrible shoes I bought to coordinate with a sari for a wedding. They turned dark and the fabric got crunchy on me. I never really liked them (emergency purchase rears its ugly head), so feel no guilt about tossing.
  • The purple glittery shoes. They were $8.00, I was a senior in college. I thought it would be funny to wear them with my graduation gown. It was. I did. I never wore them again. I'd save them, but they're hideously clunky. Maybe some kid can play dress up with them. Donated!
  • The pink ruffly satin platform shoes. I bought these after seeing them in a fashion magazine back in college. Like the Birthday Shoes, they appealed to my inner Dolly Parton/Miss Piggy fan. I wore them to a few college dances. The heels are really chunky, which is good because they're also really high. I'm saving them, just in case. (I'm not sure in case of what, but we'll see.)
  • Uncomfortable but cute brown sandals with sparkly flowers. Also bought to be worn with a sari at a wedding. They're cute, and I have this idea that I might wear them again, and also they're cute, so they're staying.
  • Silvery blue satin sandals. Bought to match a bridesmaid dress. They weren't dyed to match, but they went with the dress perfectly. I can't quite get rid of them yet.

(bottom row)

  • Embroidered satin flats. Remember when these were all the rage a few years ago? So do I. They're getting a little ratty, so I think I'll give them one more season before I toss, because I think I'm really going to want my flats this summer.
  • My classic black evening pumps. With just a little bit of rhinestone. Perfect.
  • Black velvet shoes with just a tiny heel. Cheap and they look it. An emergency purchase that's in the outbox as I type.
  • The rare emergency purchase that actually worked. Strappy black sandals that don't cut my feet.
  • Hot pink thong sandals with floral heel/base. Oh these shoes. Right after I got my masters, I was living at home, looking for a real job while substitute teaching. I was so miserable. I was so jealous of my other friends who had jobs and lives while I was staying with my parents. I saw these shoes at the mall. They weren't really that expensive, but even so, I shouldn't have bought them. I should have saved my money. But something about them just called to me. This sounds so dumb, but they were kind of a promise to myself, that even though my life was crappy, I would get these shoes and wear them and somehow that would help. So I bought them, and I wore them ( I was in Texas at the time. Flip-flop/thong type shoes are practically state-mandated wear there), and I started to find my way again. And eventually I got the job that changed my life. And now here I am. I don't attribute that to these shoes or anything, but more than any other pair except maybe the pink satin platforms, these shoes are important to me in some weird way. They're milestone shoes. They're also kind of kick-ass, stylewise.

There was also a pair of Mock Doc Martins in the group photo , which I used to wear in the snow, but the soles cracked and now my feet get wet in them and so they're gone, too. When I was putting all the shoes back in the closet, I tried to rearrange things so that I would have easier access to the pairs I might want to wear this spring/summer. I just wish it would warm up a bit so I could get started on them.

So that's the shoes. That was maybe more about me and my footwear than you needed to know, wasn't it?

Next time: Progress photos of my evil socks. Purses (this would be a much bigger category if I hadn't purged before I moved). The answers to the status symbol questions.

Now I need to get back to my reading and my essay. We're covering Janice Radway's Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature this week. It's fun stuff, and I want to make sure it gets its due attention. I've got 2 1/2 weeks of school left, so things are more hectic than ever. But when classes are over, I'm done with the coursework for my degree! It's scary and exciting at the same time. At the moment, scary is winning. :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

(This Song's Just) Six Words Long

So a little while ago, The Mad Knitter tagged me for this meme.

Here's the NPR story that describes the concept and gives examples of six-word memoirs from writers and non-writers alike.

Here are the guidelines, should you choose to participate in this yourself:

Write your own six word memoir. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere. Tag five more blogs with links.

Here's mine:

No, I meant to do that.

My writing professors often said that being brief is harder than writing something long. They were right.

Since I am (as usual) behind on these, I won't tag anyone. But please feel free to write your own.

Edited to add: super bonus cool points to anyone who knows where the title comes from!

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Wardrobe therapy, retail therapy, knitting therapy -- this post has it all!

First off: knitting therapy

I had some paypal credit sitting around, and my parents gave me an eb*y gift card for my birthday (who knew they even had those?), so I decided to spend it this evening while I was listening to podcasts. Lime and Violet were waxing poetic about Malabrigo, so I bought two skeins in a purple color (I don't see it on their website, it might have been an older colorway), and then I bought a copy of More Big Girl Knits -- I really liked the first book, and am very excited about getting the new one. I'll post pictures when they get here.

Also, I knit a sweater!!!
But it's a little small. Luckily I know somebody it will fit:
The doll is by the Robert Tonner Company, the skirt is by me, and the sweater is the Textures and Ribs Turtleneck pattern by Daniel Bingham . It used size 1 needles and less than a skein of the Tioga Yarns Three Ply Fingering Wool that I got back at S&B in New Haven. I think Claire found it at a thrift store. The wrapper looks ancient -- I have no idea how old this yarn is.

Also in knitting news, I'm on sock two of my Mom's socks (finally). I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, or the sock, as the case might be.

In more retail news, I went shopping today, and bought a new pair of jeans to replace a pair that was getting worn out. I also got a new black 3/4 sleeve t-shirt to replace one that was getting all pilled and faded. The old garments aren't nice enough to donate, so I'm going to put them in the trash.

This brings me to the final portion of this blog post, Wardrobe Therapy. I'm still chugging along here. I didn't have time to get this done until the weekend, and the piling was a big task. I decided not to take pictures of the pants and shorts, but got rid of the ones that were too worn. I'm going to need at least another pair of shorts this summer, I'm ok for jeans since I bought the new pair today, I have nice "work pants" in grey, black, brown, and khaki, and then casual pants in green and khaki. I'd like to get another pair of khaki casual pants, since I'll get more wear out of those for school. My work pants are still in good shape from when I had the office job, but there's no sense in buying more of them right now since I don't have to wear them much.
These are my summer weight skirts. The white printed skirt is a superstar, it has enough colors in it that I can wear it with black tops or any other color that's in it. The others are stalwart staples.
These are the heavier weight skirts. The raspberry suede skirt would be a superstar, but the hem fell out and I haven't gotten around to fixing that. The others are a black suiting trumpet skirt and some wool blend plaids. They're ok. I like the green and black skirts the best. I think the flare is a good shape for me. The real problem with all these skirts, and with the dresses you'll see later, is that I don't wear them. I almost always wear pants. It's partly laziness, part self-consciousness. I'm going to try to wear them a bit more often this summer, though. It is cooler.
Here are my blazers and jackets. Nothing too exciting. The velvet and cordouroy blazers are superstars. I wear them alot, especially with jeans. I hate the black blazer and want one with buttons, not a zipper, but I'll hold onto it until I find one to replace it. The mauve jeans-style jacket used to be a favorite, but I don't wear it much anymore. I'll give it a go and see if it gets used this spring.
This is my favorite cardigan for spring. I wear it with tanks or camisoles underneath. It's one of the trendier things I own.
These are my two suits and my more work-appropriate dress. The pink suit is a jacket and dress. It's a little Jackie O, and has gotten lots of wear. My mom helped me pick out the purple suit for my first grad school interviews back in 2000. If I was doing this over again, I would have bought something more classic, like a black pantsuit. It's also another zip jacket, which I plan to avoid in the future. The green shirtdress hasn't been worn yet, mostly because I don't wear dresses much. I'll have to give it a shot soon though, before it gets too worn.
These are the lighter weight dresses. Lots of empire waists, v-necks, asymmetrical hems, etc. The black dress on the end is the dress I mentioned as my favorite outfit ever a few weeks ago. I put aside it and a few other dresses that are a little too small, in the hopes that I can fit into them again.

Whew! That covers most of the major clothing pieces. This next week is for accessories. The shoes will take me a while.

It's been sort of interesting going through all this clothing at once. I've made lots of shopping mistakes, and I have tons of plain basics. I tend to make iffy choices on trendier things, so I often stick to the safe choices (probably the reason I had about a million t-shirts). In addition to instituting a "one item enters, one item leaves" policy, I think I need to stop my impulse shopping. I often get tired/frustrated and end up buying things that never get worn. I also need to stop letting my mom talk me into things. She has a good eye for color, but doesn't really have a handle on the styles and cuts I like. It's really hit or miss with things she picks out for me. I also want to make more of an effort to wear skirts and dresses. Considering that I never wear them, I have plenty of them. I think I'm always hoping that I will find the skirt that will make me love wearing skirts, if that makes any sense.

Ok, now that I've driven all my readers off with this really long post, I think it's time to hit the hay. I'll be dreaming of new yarn tonight!!